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Drought Forces Namibia To Auction 1000 Wild Animals

Including elephants and giraffes.

After having declared a national disaster last month, drought-hit Namibia has just authorized the sale of at least 1,000 wild animals to limit the loss of life and generate $1.1 million for conservation, the authorities confirmed Saturday.

Meteorological services in the southern African nation estimate that some parts of the country faced the deadliest drought in as many as 90 years.

"Given that this year is a drought year, the [environment] ministry would like to sell various type of game species from various protected areas to protect grazing and at the same time to also generate much-needed funding for parks and wildlife management," environment ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda told AFP.

"The grazing condition in most of our parks is extremely poor and if we do not reduce the number of animals, this will lead to loss of animals due to starvation," Muyunda said.

In April, an agriculture ministry report said 63,700 animals died in 2018 because of deteriorating grazing conditions brought on by dry weather.

Namibia's cabinet announced this week that the government would sell about 1,000 wild animals. They include 600 disease-free buffalos, 150 Springbok, 65 oryx, 60 giraffes, 35 eland, 28 elephants, 20 impala and 16 kudus - all from national parks. The aim is to raise $1.1 million that will go towards a state-owned Game Products Trust Fund for wildlife conservation and parks management.

The government said there were currently about 960 buffalos in its national parks, 2,000 Springbok, 780 oryx, and 6,400 elephants.

The southern African nation launched an urgent appeal for international aid. “Livelihoods of the majority of Namibians, especially those that depend on agricultural activities are threatened”, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told the parliament in May.

Konbini news with AFP

By Clothilde Bru, published on 18/06/2019

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